We begin with a diagnosis from the Guardian:
Record CO2 emissions ‘committing world to dangerous climate change’
- Global greenhouse gas emissions on course to reach record high of over 40bn tonnes in 2014, study in Nature Geoscience says
Children born today will see the world committed to dangerous and irreversible levels of climate change by their young adulthood at current rates, as the world poured a record amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere this year.
Annual carbon dioxide emissions showed a strong rise of 2.5% on 2013 levels, putting the total emitted this year on track for 40bn tonnes. That means the global ‘carbon budget’, calculated as the total governments can afford to emit without pushing temperatures higher than 2C above pre-industrial levels, is likely to be used up within just one generation, or in thirty years from now.
Scientists think climate change is likely to have catastrophic and irreversible effects, including rising sea levels, polar melting, droughts, floods and increasingly extreme weather, if temperatures rise more than 2C. They have calculated that this threshold is likely to be breached if global emissions top 1,200 billion tonnes, giving a “carbon budget” to stick to in order to avoid dangerous warming.
Action from BBC News:
Climate change summit: Global rallies demand action
Street protests demanding urgent action on climate change have attracted hundreds of thousands of marchers in more than 2,000 locations worldwide.
The People’s Climate March is campaigning for curbs on carbon emissions, ahead of the UN climate summit in New York next week.
In Manhattan, organisers said some 310,000 people joined a march that was also attended by UN chief Ban Ki-moon.
Earlier, huge demonstrations took place in Australia and Europe.
The New York Times covers a sellout:
Rockefellers, Heirs to an Oil Fortune, Will Divest Charity From Fossil Fuels
John D. Rockefeller built a vast fortune on oil. Now his heirs are abandoning fossil fuels.
The family whose legendary wealth flowed from Standard Oil is planning to announce on Monday that its $860 million philanthropic organization, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, is joining the divestment movement that began a couple years ago on college campuses.
The announcement, timed to precede Tuesday’s opening of the United Nations climate change summit meeting in New York City, is part of a broader and accelerating initiative.
From RT, another outbreak:
500,000 people ill with mosquito-borne virus in Dominican Republic
The mosquito virus chikungunya has left almost 500,000 people ill, and 109 of them are newborn babies, according to an official in the Dominican Republic hit by the disease.
The newborns contracted the illness from their mothers, who were ill while giving birth, Carmen Adames, the Health Ministry’s coordinator dealing with the outbreak, told AP. None of the children have died, she added.
The symptoms of the disease take three to seven days to appear, and include high fever, severe headaches and joint pain that can render a person virtually immobile for months. Research in the Indian Ocean islands has demonstrated that patients can suffer joint pains for as long as two years, depending on their age.
There is no vaccine for the illness at the moment, and no specific cure as well; on the positive side, it has rarely been deadly.
From News Corp Australia, Down Under torture by Alexion, a U.S.-based drug maker:
Patient nearly dies after being denied access to life-saving drug
A DRUG company denied a critically ill woman access to a life-saving drug this month because it wanted to ramp up pressure on Health Minister Peter Dutton to subsidise its $500,000 per patient per year medicine.
Mr Dutton had to intervene to pay for the medicine Soliris to save the woman’s life. The furious Health Minister told News Corp: “I won’t tolerate patients being used as pawns”.
Melbourne woman Toula Lockley, 42, suffers from a rare disease called aHUS that sees tiny blood vessels blocked, cutting off the blood supply to major organs.
From the Associated Press, California still ablaze:
32 structures destroyed in California wildfire
Officials say nearly three-dozen structures have been destroyed in an expanding wildfire in Northern California.
Capt. Tom Piranio, a fire information officer, says 10 residences and 22 outbuildings have been destroyed in the King Fire, according to preliminary figures released Sunday. Assessment teams were going back in dangerous conditions to survey more damage.
Smoky conditions from the fire also forced the cancellation of the popular Ironman Triathlon event in nearby Lake Tahoe on Sunday.
The fast-moving blaze located about 60 miles east of Sacramento has grown to more than 128 square miles. It has kept 2,800 people from their homes and remains 10 percent contained. About 100 people have been allowed to return home.
Context from the Christian Science Monitor:
Burning money: Cost of fighting wildfires robs funds to prevent them
The cost of fighting wildfires and protecting life and property from harm has exceeded $1 billion every year since 2000, eating into agency resources for forest management and fire preparedness – programs meant to prevent wildfires before they start
News from California this week made it seem as if half the drought-stricken state was ablaze with wind-whipped wildfires, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate, wrecking some vacation plans for Yosemite National Park, and torching hundreds of structures – including 143 homes in the small town of Weed.
All of that is happening and continues to happen as firefighters battle what fire officials say are 23 active wildfires around the state – 17 of those described as “uncontained large fires.”
So far this year, there have been slightly more wildfires (39,927) than there were in 2013 (38,208). But the total acreage burned so far in 2014 (3,002,842 acres) is significantly less than last year (4,006,080 acres).
From the Associated Press, California still dry:
Some California wells run dry amid drought
Hundreds of domestic wells in California’s drought-parched Central Valley farming region have run dry, leaving many residents to rely on donated bottles of drinking water to get by.
Girl Scouts have set up collection points while local charities are searching for money to install tanks next to homes. Officials truck in water for families in greatest need and put a large tank in front of the local firehouse for residents to fill up with water for bathing and flushing toilets.
About 290 families in East Porterville — a poor, largely Hispanic town of about 7,000 residents nestled against the Sierra Nevada foothills — have said their shallow wells are depleted. Officials say the rest of Tulare County has many more empty wells, but nobody has a precise count.
Other Central Valley counties also report pockets of homes with wells gone dry and no alternative water service.
Another water woe, this time from south of the border in Hermosillo, via the Associated Press:
Western Mexico state reports new mine spill
Authorities in northern Mexico have issued a new alert of a river spill from a copper mine operated by Grupo Mexico, the state director of civil protection said Sunday.
The agency is urging people to avoid using the water from after local municipalities complained of a toxic plume, said Carlos Arias, civil protection director for the border state of Sonora, where the spill occurred.
Arias said the tributaries affected drain into the Bacanuchi River. A flyover of the area shows an abnormal orange stain, he added. He said his department is taking measures to ensure people don’t come in contact with the water until it can be tested.
Bone dry in Old Blighty too with the Independent:
UK weather: Britain must be prepared for ‘worst droughts in modern times’
The UK must prepare for “the worst droughts in modern times” experts will warn this week at a major international conference to discuss the growing global water crisis.
As the population continues to grow and water is increasingly scarce, suppliers across Britain simply “cannot afford to fail”, according to Trevor Bishop, the Environment Agency’s deputy director. “We need to have more resilience, we need to be able to deal with tougher situations, and we cannot afford to fail. The consequences of failure would be very substantial,” he said.
“In the past we have planned for our water resources to cope with the worst situation on record but records are only 100 years long,” he explained. “We may get a situation that is worse than that – with climate change that is perfectly possible.”
Star Africa News covers African water woes:
Water shortage hits Somali regions
People and animals in the Galgagud, Hiran and Mudug regions of central Somalia have been hit by an acute shortage of water after almost a year without proper rainfall.The Commissioner of Mahas district in Hiran region, Mumin Mohamed Halane told the African Press Agency on Sunday that hundreds of rural people have flocked to towns in search of drinking water for them and their animals.
He said wells, waterholes and pools which whole communities had depended on to water their animals have dried up.
According to him, the situation has worsened in areas where al-Shabaab militants forcibly took away water generators from villages in an apparent scorch earth tactic against government troops and African Union peacekeepers.
And from the Express Tribune, water woes in the Subcontinent:
Uneasy neighbours: Pakistani experts to discuss water dispute in India
A three-member Pakistani delegation, led by Indus Water Commissioner Mirza Asif Baig, left for India on Saturday amid hopes that the two arch-rivals would work out a solution to the decades-old water issues that have been bedeviling their bilateral relations.
“We are hopeful that India will show some flexibility on [Pakistan’s] reservations over the building of new dams in India,” Baig told reporters at Wagah border before crossing into India. During the five-day trip, the delegation will also visit four controversial sites on the Chenab River where New Delhi is planning to construct new dams. Reiterating that Pakistan’s objections over the design of Kishanganga dam were logical, Baig said that some serious doubts pertaining to the controversial project – particularly regarding the Neelum distributary point – and other dams on the Chenab River have already been allayed.
Experts, however, believe there is little or no hope of a breakthrough in talks as India is unwilling to entertain any Pakistani demands. Islamabad would have to move the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to settle the dispute, they say. Baig said that his delegation would try their best to resolve all issues during their stay in India. But at the same time, he admitted that Islamabad would have no choice but to approach the ICJ if New Delhi did not entertain their ‘fair’ demands.
Last week, a 10-member delegation from India visited Pakistan to discuss the thorny water issues between the two nations. The talks, however, failed to make any headway as the Indian side refused to accept Pakistan’s demand for changing the design of Kishanganga dam.
And another kind of water woe from RT America:
Microbeads gumming up Lake Erie, your body
While cleaning patients’ teeth, a Phoenix dental hygienist discovered that Crest toothpaste contains tiny plastic “microbeads.” After a public backlash, Crest and many other companies are now removing the environmentally degrading ingredient from their products. RT’s Lindsay France takes a look at why consumers should be worried.
After the jump, China sends carbon soaring, Fukushima-damaged rice genes, other nuke-zone food heads to the market, a Japanese reactor complex shutdown contemplated, an Abe appointee pushes for restarts, underground reactors mulled, hot water testing, and a global reactor slowdown. . . Continue reading